23 Aug 19

Saturday August 31st is International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD). This is a day where people from all over the world acknowledge and remember the lives of those lost to drug overdose. On International Overdose Awareness Day we recognise the grief and loss experienced by friends, family and significant others through lives lost to overdose. It is also a day intended to create action to reduce the potential for future grief and loss by raising awareness and breaking stigma. This year’s theme is “Time to remember. Time to act.”

We recognise that this is a particularly difficult time for many dealing with grief and loss. We remind you that you are not alone and encourage you to reach out for any support available to you, now and always.

In our online community’s friends and family area, you may like to connect and share support with others at this time, in a safe and anonymous environment. You’re invited to share a memory, pay a tribute, seek support or just read through the posts of others.

There are also a number of events happening across the country this week in recognition of International Overdose Awareness Day. While some are mentioned below, you can also find a full list in on the official IOAD website.


  • Hawthorn: Overdose awareness day art exhibition, Wednesday 28th Aug, by #BeZine peer support group. Exhibiting work by group participants, the pieces will incorporate themes of overdose, tributes, recovery and hope.
  • Federation Square: Shedding light on overdose, Southern Metro Harm Reduction Coalition, Friday 30th Aug. An interactive memorial and public presence will provide a rare opportunity to publicly remember & commemorate those lives lost to drug overdose. It will encourage dialogue around overdose, challenge stigma and shame, and provide care from the community to those affected.


  • Moving exhibition: 1,000 Cranes, launching Friday 30th Aug, by Alcohol, Tobacco and other Drugs Council Tasmania. Senbazuru is the art of folding 1,000 paper cranes. It is said that if you fold 1,000 paper cranes and make a wish, it will come true. Members of the Tasmanian community are coming together to fold 1,000 cranes, sharing stories of people lost to overdose and making the wish of a community free from the harm of overdose.


  • Sunshine Coast: Hearts in the sand, 31st Aug.
    An event intended to educate the community on prescription medication dependence, misuse and overdose. Also a time to remember the lives lost and recognise the grief so many families have endured. Purple hearts hand written messages will commemorate lives lost. Lives experience attending to chat.

Western Australia

  • Perth: there are a number of morning/afternoon teas happening across Perth, to remember loved ones lost and providing the opportunity to learn about recognising & responding to overdose, and also how to use naloxone.

Additionally, there will be a number of landmarks across the country lit up as purple in solidarity and recognition of the day. These include Federation Square (Melb), Fitzroy Street (Melb) Melbourne Town Hall (Melb), The Tropical Dome at Brisbane Botanic Gardens (Brisbane) and Trafalgar Bridge (Perth). These continue to be announced in the lead up to the date.

You can also follow the global recognition of the day online. International Overdose Awareness Day’s official facebook page is sharing events, information and harm reduction strategies. Hashtags #EndOverdose & #OverdoseAware will be used across platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram) throughout the week.

For those experiencing grief, you may find the following support helpful 

  • Griefline is available from midday to 3am AEST on 1300 845 745
  • Beyond Blue’s grief and loss fact sheet available on their website has some information which may assist you and those around you at this time.
  • You can also call the National Alcohol and Drug Helpline if this is the support which is most useful for you right now 1800 250 015.